Drug and alcohol abuse affects many families across Massachusetts and the United States. When you are ready to seek treatment for yourself or a loved one, you may have questions. You want to mentally prepare for what’s to come. You need to know: How long does it take to detox from alcohol? And can an inpatient rehab center in Worcester, Massachusetts help?
Here are the answers you seek.
Why Do You Have Alcohol Withdrawal?
The human body is a very intricate system. It always seeks to function optimally based on the conditions they’re in. So if a person is frequently drinking alcohol, the body learns how to function at its best with the alcohol. Now, this is not to say that alcohol isn’t doing terrible things to the body. On the contrary, liver, kidney, and other damages are inevitable if you continue.
It’s just that the body is trying to make the best out of a bad situation. So the brain rewires itself to depend on the alcohol for survival. When it’s taken away, the body is forced to adjust. This causes withdrawal symptoms, which can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening. At an alcohol detox center, around-the-clock care ensures your safety and comfort as your body begins to adapt to sobriety.
How Long Does It Take to Detox from Alcohol? A Timeline
Alcohol withdrawal can range from mild to severe. And, not surprisingly, it depends on how long you’ve been abusing this substance, how much you’ve been drinking, your overall health, as well as what other substances you’re using with alcohol. Generally, you’ll go through three distinct stages.
Stage One: Six to 24 Hours
At around six hours after your last drink, you may experience mild symptoms such as:
- Nausea & Vomiting
- Shaky hands
This first stage is typically mild. But it’s the calm before the storm. So it’s important that you’ve chosen to ask: how long does it take to detox from alcohol? Why? Because this first stage can be misleading. And, as a result, many aren’t prepared for what comes next.
Stage 2: 12-48 Hours
At around 12 hours after that last drink, more severe symptoms begin. You may experience things like:
- Higher blood pressure
- Respiration issues
- Fever & Sweating
- Irregular heartbeat
As the body attempts to adjust, heart function may become erratic. As you can imagine, this is a dangerous stage and could even turn deadly.
Stage 3: 48-72 Hours
By the 2-day mark, you might expect to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But you’re not out of the woods yet. On the contrary, for approximately one more day, you’ll need to deal with the most severe and dangerous symptoms.
Around five percent of people will get the worst of it. That’s seizures and hallucinations along with extreme confusion. During this critical time, you are not yourself. Because of it, you could potentially cause harm to you or a loved one. Medical supervision is a must.
So how long does it take to detox from alcohol? That’s approximately three days. But you must do it safely.
How Does Medically-Supervised Detox Improve the Withdrawal Experience?
Unlike what you may have seen on TV, going “cold turkey” at home is rarely advisable with alcohol detox. In medically-supervised alcohol detox, you detox under the 24-hour care of nurses who monitor your vitals and symptoms as well as keep you safe and as comfortable as possible.
If you detox at home and have a medical emergency, It can take 15-30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. And that’s much longer if you live in a rural or underserved area. That’s too long to wait in a medical emergency. But when you’re medically-supervised, the doctor and nurse are already there with you from the start.
On the other hand, you’re assessing physician may recommend a tapering detox approach. In this case, you’d be given a medication that eases withdrawal symptoms as you more slowly become free of the effects of alcohol. This takes much longer than the 72 hours but is less severe.
Immediately after detox, you’ll start an alcohol rehab program where you learn the skills you need to stay in recovery and live the most fulfilling life. Relapse prevention planning and aftercare support help you continue your recovery in a healthy manner.
If you’re ready to be free from alcohol, contact Washburn House in Worcester, Massachusetts. We offer the caring and evidence-based treatment you seek. Call us at 855.298.3104 to get your alcohol addiction assessment.